According to a gaming market research firm, mobile games will bring in $92 billion in revenues in 2021, more than console and PC combined. There are thousands of popular apps that are not strictly games but rely heavily on gaming mechanics to entice users.
An Israeli startup called Kooply is announcing funding from key investors to build out a mobile games development platform in order to cater to both professional and casual developers.
The company is still in stealth mode, but it has gotten $18 million in a seed round co-led by Microsoft. The money will be used to hire and to continue investing in research and development.
Ido Yablonka, who co-founded the company with Vadim Zak and Guy Pitelko last year, wouldn't say much about what the company is building.
There are a lot of mobile games on the market, but a lot of them are not very good, either in how they are built, or how they meet what consumers want, or how they are amplified in the world.
Most of the mobile games will have between 50 and 100 downloads, he said. They were dead on arrival.
Even with good ideas, it's only half the challenge to make an attractive game, and then to get it in front of those who are most likely to love it.
He said that this will bring the company into the realm of tools for experienced developers but also those who want to build something but don't have the technical skills. He said that initially the focus will be casual mobile games, an area that has seen a huge amount of activity in terms of M&A, startups raising big money to scale and stay independent, and most critically of all, massive audiences.
Different takes on the level of expertise needed to build, and for which environment, can be found in the number of games development platforms already on the market or in development. Yahaha, a no-code platform aimed at immersive gaming, is one of the recent fundings, as is PortalOne, a hybrid and immersive platform.
Yablonka believes that there is an opportunity to build new tools that go beyond what people are used to.
When I see visual programming, it's not as complicated as regular programming, so I don't really see the point.
If you're wondering why founders who are only talking in general platitudes are getting $18 million in a seed round, it's probably because they've shown some interesting early developments to investors, and they got the doors opened to those backers because of their background. In this case, Yablonka has a long history of building and selling his own companies to a number of bigger tech giants, with a focus not on gaming but security. The central themes of data protection and cyber have become more important in recent years.
Yablonka knows Vadim Zak and Guy Pitelko from their work at ClarityRay, which was acquired by Yahoo. Pitelko is the chief data science office and Zak is the VP of R&D. The fact that there are three technical people who have experience with the adjacent parts of the mobile games business says something about how they are approaching building a games development platform and what they see as the most valuable things to put.
Will the games design community feel the same, or will the proof be in the pudding?
The investors are interested enough to punt.
"Kooply embodies everything TPY Capital seeks in a startup: a visionary, yet grounded team with mutual entrepreneurial background, and a close proximity to the challenges mobile developers face."
Irad Dor said that Kooply has the potential to create an entirely new gaming category that can capture hundreds of millions of users. They know how to meet users where they are and have compelling content to engage with. As the metaverse becomes more established and consumers seek new experiences, the ability to create for the mobile domain will be more valuable.
We believe in supporting and encouraging visionary gaming entrepreneurs. Eric Rapps, chief strategy officer at Kooply, said that the approach was focused on mobile native creation specifically and the ease of use of its tools not just to create experiences, but also to operate them after their creation.